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SQL Server Data Tools Updated for Visual Studio 2012

Microsoft recently updated SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) with support for Visual Studio 2012, improved LocalDB functionality and new SSDT Power Tools.

SSDT, if you're unfamiliar with it, is a hodgepodge of functionalities targeted at easier database project development from within Visual Studio. For example, one main feature is that data devs no longer have to switch back and forth between SQL Server Management Studio and Visual Studio, working entirely in the latter.

The September 2012 update comes in versions for Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010. The big news, of course, is that SSDT now plays nicely with Visual Studio 2012. I wrote earlier about the problems users (including me) were having getting the two to work together. "This release of SSDT supports the Visual Studio 2012 shell," wrote Janet Yeilding in the team blog post announcing the update. "SSDT September 2012 contains several bug fixes to the SSDT version that shipped in Visual Studio 2012 and this release can be applied as an update on top of Visual Studio 2012 Professional, Premium, and Ultimate Editions.

The new SSDT release also includes configuration improvements for LocalDB, a streamlined, simplified version of SQL Express that speeds up data development by obviating the need for developers to set up full SQL Express instances on their machines. "We received feedback that SSDT's policy of creating a new LocalDB instance for each SSDT solution was too verbose, so we created a single LocalDB instance called Projects to host all the project debug databases," Yeilding said. "We've also enhanced SQL Server Object Explorer by surfacing the default LocalDB instance and enabling the deletion of LocalDB instances."

Other improvements include an updated Data-Tier Application Framework, support for non-standard ANSI_NULLs and QUOTED_IDENTIFIER properties, numerous bug fixes and new companion SSDT Power Tools.

The new SSDT Power Tools release, which works only with the new SSDT main release, also offers brand-new support for Visual Studio 2012. "For the first time, this Power Tools release provides a version of the power tools for Visual Studio 2012 in addition to the version for Visual Studio 2010," the team blog said. The new Power Tools come in separate installations for Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010.

Besides the Visual Studio 2012 compatibility, the new Power Tools release has new functionality allowing the creation and deployment of Data-Tier Applications (*.dacpacs files), described in the blog post as "the core artifact of the DAC Framework."

Posted by David Ramel on 09/26/2012 at 1:30 PM


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